A step-by-step guide on how a commission is put together
A lot of artists would like to know how one goes about starting a commission and there are also a lot of people who would like to have something commissioned but are too scared to ask.
What is the procedure and what is involved in the process of a commission?
The Key Steps
- Meet with the client and get a feel for what they want — show them your portfolio
- If you accept the job, the next step is to supply the client with a quotation for the job (upon acceptance of the quote, I usually require a deposit of 50%)
- Draw up a prelim sketch of the artwork and give a detailed synopsis of how you got to this stage with the information and specs the client has given you
- Start the job and show the client the finished work (I usually refrain from showing the client the process as it could cause confusion, as you will see in the blogs to come)
- Present the client with the finished painting — I usually send a photograph before they actually see it ‘in the flesh’
- Voila (oh, and get the rest of your payment!)
In the weeks to follow, I will be taking you through the last commission that I did for a very special client who wanted a triptych for her office. I will be addressing every step that is taken up until the painting is delivered.
Today’s Art Blog is going to look at the first step: Q&A
Step 1 — What does your client want?
This is obviously a very important step and one of the deciding factors if you and your client are on the same page. When you have finished questioning your clients likes and dislikes, you can assess whether or not you resonate with each other and the project.
I never take on a commission that I don’t feel comfortable with. If it goes against my style, principles or anything else, this step will let me know if I will proceed with the client to the next stage which is quoting for the job.
Here were my clients specs for this commission:
She wanted to incorporate
- Butterfly (part of her logo)
- Silver spirals/patterns
- Joy, Beauty and Fulfillment
- Green, purple and silver colours
When we discussed these ideas, she conveyed to me that she liked the spiral patterns I use in my art (see picture below for example) and she also liked the idea of having a human form in a tree (see my other picture below).
“It is vital that you show your client a portfolio…”
This was important information and got me on track to visualizing this piece. It is vital that you show your client a portfolio so they can point out the colours, subjects and styles they like of yours. It also helps the client get an idea of what you are capable of doing.
As she is having this painting commissioned for her office, we also delved into her practice and what that entails. She is an NLP practitioner (Neuro-linguistic Programming) who wants something pleasant for her clients to look at whilst in they are in session. It has to be something that ties in with what she offers.
Next week I will be posting the prelim sketch of the painting along with the detailed synopsis of how I interpreted her needs.